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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

2018 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Guatemala

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes remittances and households’ behavior in Guatemala. Remittances are a structural feature of the Guatemala economy. In 2017, remittance flows accounted for over 11 percent of GDP and benefitted over 1.5 million of Guatemalan households. The effects of remittances on the labor supply are estimated. There is no evidence of remittance-induced work disincentives. The results suggest that the labor supply for members of remittance-receiving households is relatively more elastic, most markedly so for the 41-65 age group: a one percent increase in weekly wages leads to a 0.5 percent increase in weekly hours worked for members of remittance-receiving households, versus 0.2 percent increase for non-remittance-receiving households.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that a sound monetary policy management in Guatemala has helped keep inflation expectations firmly anchored. Fiscal deficits have remained at decade lows on the back of low debt tolerance and inadequate budgetary execution. Terms of trade gains and an upsurge in remittances inflows moved the current account into a sizable surplus. The financial system is sound and well-regulated while vulnerabilities seem manageable. Growth performance nevertheless falls shorts of the rates needed to achieve Guatemala’s aspirations to meaningfully lift the living standards of its citizens. Near-term growth prospects remain subdued, at 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.6 percent in 2019.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Fundamentals remain strong and growth has revived after three years of subpar performance. Improved budgetary execution and monetary accommodation, broadly in line with past staff advice, are providing demand support as the economy navigates weaker terms of trade. Near-term growth is poised for a rebound on the back of fiscal impulse from the 2019 expansionary budget, exports recovery after last year’s slump, and construction-driven investment. Lack of progress on long-delayed business climate and public sector reforms, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, and financial inclusion, dampen medium-term prospects.
Dmitry Plotnikov
This paper presents a structural model of crime and output. Individuals make an occupational choice between criminal and legal activities. The return to becoming a criminal is endogenously determined in a general equilibrium together with the level of crime and economic activity. I calibrate the model to the Northern Triangle countries and conduct several policy experiments. I find that for a country like Honduras crime reduces GDP by about 3 percent through its negative effect on employment indirectly, in addition to direct costs of crime associated with material losses, which are in line with literature estimates. Also, the model generates a non-linear effect of crime on output and vice versa. On average I find that a one percent increase in output per capita implies about ½ percent decline in crime, while a decrease of about 5 percent in crime leads to about one percent increase in output per capita. These positive effects are larger if the initial level of crime is larger.